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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 203381 Find in a Library
Title: Discovery Process and Personnel File Information
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:72  Issue:11  Dated:November 2003  Pages:25-32
Author(s): Richard G. Schott J.D.
Date Published: November 2003
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: HTML
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines how due process impacts the judicial discovery process and police officers with credibility problems.
Abstract: Several court cases, including 1959’s Napue v. Illinois, 1963’s Brady v. Maryland, and Giglio v. United States, are recounted to demonstrate the importance and requirements of fundamental fairness required by the due process clause of the 5th and 14th amendments of the Constitution. The cases illustrate the importance of honesty in the criminal justice process and the parameters of the discovery process in a court of law. Limits on the discovery process are defined through an analysis of Pennsylvania v. Ritchie, in which the U.S. Supreme Court determined that only evidence that may have a “reasonable probability” of affecting the outcome of the case is required under the due process clause. The case of McMillian v. Johnson is recounted to illustrate the consequences, in terms of personal liability, for law enforcement officers who intentionally withhold information that falls under the due process clause. Finally, the article discusses issues related to the release of police officer personnel file information related to the discovery process. In closing, the authors assert that when police officers knowingly withhold information that is favorable to a criminal defendant, they not only violate a defendant’s right to due process, they also permanently damage their credibility as a courtroom witness. Endnotes
Main Term(s): Pretrial discovery; Right to Due Process
Index Term(s): Police due process training; Police personnel; US Supreme Court decisions
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